Heyward is at a crossroads - STLtoday.com

• With clutch timing, Jason Heyward called dibs to relegate his teen friends to the back of his family’s Chevy Suburban and score the passenger seat, the coveted spot for controlling the radio dial. It was a Sunday afternoon and the boys piled into the car to return home from baseball. So Heyward was going to be listening. Just as a Stevie Wonder song started on one channel, Heyward tuned to the Braves’ game as Smoltz delivered the first pitch. Jason unfolded from his seat, stepped out, and started the 45-minute hike. Stevie Wonder was on the radio and his friends still in the backseat of the disappearing Suburban, his home away from home during baseball season. Only Heyward’s swing took him more places in baseball than the family’s sandstone Suburban. “Going to practice, going to games, going around the state to practice — we were in it,” Heyward said. Part living room, part study hall, and all about the ball, the Suburban made the trips that reinforced Heyward’s passion for baseball as they shaped his talent. Before graduating high school, he was a standout for East Cobb, one of the country’s elite amateur baseball programs. A first-round pick by the Braves at age 17, Heyward homered in his first big-league at-bat. An All-Star appearance, two Gold Glove Awards, five years in the majors and one trade later he’s found himself here, a year away from free agency and dropped off at another destination. Two constants of Heyward’s youth were the Suburban and outsized. Source: www.stltoday.com